February: 10 Things to Love

You know how Oprah has her favorite things?

And then she’s like….

 

Well, I’m a little Oprah-inspired here, so I’d like to share, with YOU,   some of my favorite things….or “Things to Love.”

While I can’t promise you they will be hiding under your seat, hopefully they are things that you can have in your life, easily, and enjoy them as much as I do.

Also, my enthusiasm may not wear suits and fling it’s arms out wide, but that’s only because I have to take a selfie of my own excited face.

SEE……

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EXCITED!

10 Things to Love in February

  1. Tea from a teapot. I learned this in England and conveniently forgot it after I’d been back in the states for awhile: tea is ALWAYS better from a teapot. Lately, I’ve been trying to drink more green tea lately, and making a nice, steamy pot of tea makes me actually want to drink it.
  2. My own candle. No one else’s, just mine. To be burnt only when I want, and extinguished only when I want.  My aunt bought me this one, soiree from Park Hill Candles. It’s probably the most amazing and fragrant candle ever. Don’t touch my candle!
  1. 12722161_10206916985176109_203307505_n3. Relatives who babysit. Grad school has been super tough lately. It’s hard to concentrate for hours at a time on heavy philosophical stuff when your little child is crying and/or needing something and/or scrambling around on the floor, heading for the fireplace. I’ve had some help this week. Kora has had a blast with her family, and it’s been such a blessing to me.

2. The Valentine’s Day aisle. I am a Valentine’s Day freak. I love it. When I see all the pink and red hearts everywhere, my heart has a panic attack of love.

3.Taking a walk. Good de-stressor. Good way to stay in shape. Good time to talk with friends.

4. Skinny chocolate. Guilt-free, healthy, easy to make. It’s a Trim Healthy Mama thing. and there are lots of yummy variations. I’m not even doing Trim Healthy Mama, I just think it’s a win-win.

5. Jazz music. Light that special candle, make a pot of tea, put on some Jazz music, and what do you have? You have company in like five minutes because I’m so there. Seriously. We’ve been playing older and contemporary jazz a ton in this household lately. It makes every night feel special, like a party.

6. Johnny Flynn. Johnny Flynn’s music is also on frequent rotation around here. I hadn’t heard of him until I watched Song One a few months ago, and “the main singing guy” was my favorite thing about it.  I love his sound, his lyrics and the many emotions his music evokes.

7. Essential Oils I’ve been using doTERRA essential oils regularly for the past few weeks. I love to have something diffusing pretty much all the time-it really can change how you feel, physically and emotionally. I’ve got “On Guard” protective blend going on right now-cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus. (the baby in this picture is pretty good, too)12625626_10206795983991155_1507181439_n (1)

10. Family Dinner at the booth. We live in my great-grandparents house. My “mamaw” cooked fried chicken and sugar cookies- you know, standard Mississippi love- on a non-stop basis when they were still around, and fed everybody. They were legendary in their love and hospitality. Our whole extended family has great memories of the kitchen here, and of the built-in wooden booth that is reminiscent of a diner. I usually work on things there, but we haven’t eaten dinner at it very much. Well, Kora finally got a high-chair and, since then, we have had dinner every night at the booth. It’s been such an awesome bit of quality time together in the evenings.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: An AMWAM Review

We had a date-night last night. Our movie of choice? Pride Prejudice and Zombies. It’s been awhile since I did one of these, but here follows my AMWAM (as many words as minutes) review!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Rating: PG-13

Movie run-time/word count: 108 minutes/words

The book we’ve all contemplated buying as a gag-gift for the literature lover in our lives is now devour-able at the big screens.

Don’t go see this one if you are the hardcore, A&E, Colin-Firth-all-the-way kind of person (you know who you are). This is the movie for Austen fans who aren’t too serious. This is for the loyal boyfriends who have sat through every re-telling, wishing they knew what the big deal was about.

Also, pretty sure Lily James is the new “it girl.”

More comedy than anything, this film is like having a bizarre, hilarious dream after  back-to-back Downton Abbey/Walking Dead marathons.

I’d watch it again.

PRIDE-AND-PREJUDICE-AND-ZOMBIES book

 

 

Spring in Mississippi

In case you didn’t know, Groundhog’s Day was this week.

And Puck-satanu…PUSUTO (Googling this)… Punxsutawney Phil  has declared an early spring.  Does anyone else ever feel like this happens very rarely? For years and years and years, it was just those extra weeks of cold. There’s probably a scientific reason for this that I learned once-upon-a-time, but while I can make myself Google the correct spelling of a groundhog’s proper name, I don’t really feel like mustering up the energy to remember how the seasons work right now. Deal with it.

I’m happy about an early spring, even though it’s not my very favorite  season (autumn is, on strict principal)…. Growing up in the North Georgia mountains, surrounded by trees and a big, beautiful lake, autumn was a signal of adventure. It wasn’t just the crisp chill in the air, the smell of campfire smoke or the fiery leaves, either. Autumn was the time we went camping, autumn was when we could take a break to go meet my grandparents in a cabin in the mountains for our annual, special get-together. I miss autumn in the mountains.

Right now, however, I live in Mississippi. And Mississippi’s Queen of the Seasons is undoubtedly Spring.

The light here changes, illuminating the numerous old gray barns and buildings.  In winter they are old and worn-out, in summer they are white-washed harshly, seeming unfriendly. In the spring, the gold touches them, hinting at their history, their magic. In spring all old things are brought to life again; they have transcended through time, and been born anew.

Mornings of a hundred years ago are freshly evoked: the smell of warm, damp grass and hay, the sunshine on dew-drops in the green fields, and the soothing saltiness of the air that only comes with being not far from the coast.

There is a lush, floral scent, too, hanging on every bush and tree. Gardenias and azaleas mostly, I think, but dozens of other flowers chime in with their own accent fragrances.

For me, there are also the memories of Mississippi springs from my growing up years. The trips we took to visit family for so many years on warm, balmy vacations, the Easters with cousins, running around in gardens, the family meals and something special in the true closeness with these people we only saw a few times a year.

Now I live here, as a grown-up in a whole different place of life. I have that closeness, but it is different now. So many things have changed since then, and the memories I share with my family is mingled with loss and newness and love and freshly found relationships.

Spring, I think, will embrace these changes, because it is, itself, always reminiscent, and always new.

So I’m waiting on the flowers to bloom in the front yard, for the day I can pull my shorts and flip-flops out of storage, for sitting on the porch and inhaling that sweet, country breeze that carries with it the love of a hundred Mississippi springs before this one.

 

 

Redeemer of my Heart

Just a very short post today, because I’ve got to be heading out the door soon.

Today, here’s where I am: aware of my need of redemption.

We sing about redemption a lot in church; it’s part of the Christian lexicon. This is as it should be, the word is important in the Christian faith…but man, sometimes I think the power of the term goes unrecognized and it takes some broken-heartedness to remember it.

Biblically speaking, the title of “redeemer” goes back to the Old Testament, referring to a “kinsman redeemer” who was able to act on behalf of another to save  them from trouble, whether this is making them good in the eyes of the law or literally rescuing them. The kinsman redeemer is kind of the white knight who brings things back where they need to be. In the New Testament, this term is fulfilled by Jesus, the ultimate kinsman redeemer.  I think a lot of times we accept this as a part of Christianity–that, in order to be saved, we need redemption from our sins.

We know that part is key, but I think we forget sometimes that it’s not a one-time deal. Our hearts wander constantly, and we’ll require this saving re-direction as long as we live. We are like kids who really, really want to touch the thing we’re not supposed to (I type before re-navigating Kora away from underneath the recliner).

The past week has been rough for me. Not rough on the outside, or in anything that happened particularly. The problem has been on the inside. I am struggling with myself–with my own unrealistic expectations (INFPs understand), over-sensitivity, doubt, worry, sadness, selfishness of perspective. I’ve felt lonely, with no one to share these private thoughts and feelings. There’s no one who can understand my soul, and no one can help resolve the troubles of myself (the Hebrew word for self, “nephesh”, is appropriate here, encompassing, body, mind, soul, self-ness…) Not even my husband can fully get me or fix me: as wonderful as he is, he is just a person, too.

The problem with trying to dump your heart’s brokenness on any other person is that we are all a bit broken-unable to carry the weight of our own problems, let alone understand or solve someone else’s. I’m not saying don’t rely on people, I’m just saying that ordinary people can’t offer real redemption of the heart. Ordinary people can’t keep bringing you back to a place of peace, no matter how far away you feel from it. Only God does that.

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“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”-Isaiah 41:13

My prayer today is that God will bring my brokeness back to Him and love me again. I don’t need saving once and for all–I’ve already received eternal salvation.

And yet….

I DO still need saving, each and every day. I need redemption every day. Please redeem my heart, today, Lord. Bring it back to where you want it to be.

“Wonderful, merciful Savior
Precious Redeemer and friend
Who would have thought that a lamb could
Rescue the souls of men
Oh, You rescue the souls of men

Counselor, Comforter, Keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way…”

-Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Hymn)